SPECIAL MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 9, 1995 - 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBER - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Chairperson Lorenzo called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M.
ROLL CALL: MEMBERS Bonaventura (Present), Capello (Present), Hoadley (Present), Hodges (Present), Lorenzo (Present), Mutch (Present), Taub (Present), Vrettas (Present), Weddington (Present)
(9) Present (0) Absent
A quorum being present, the meeting was in session.
ALSO PRESENT: Brandon Rogers Planning Consultant
Dennis Watson Assistant City Attorney
James R. Wahl Director of Planning
Greg Capote Staff Planner
Steven Cohen Planning Aide
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Planning Commission pledged Allegiance to the Flag.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Moved by Member Taub
Seconded by Member Hodges
To approve the Agenda as submitted.
(voice vote) Motion Carried Unanimously
None and Chairperson Lorenzo closed the Audience Participation.
Member Taub indicated there were two letters received, and the first letter was dated August 7, 1995 from Mr. Jim Utley regarding the August 9th Planning Commission Hearing Regarding the Limitation of Operations for those Businesses Abutting Residential Properties and that letter stated:
"Dear Planning Commission:
Because of business commitments, I cannot attend your hearing on Wednesday, August 9, 1995. However, I would like to state that I am in favor of the amendment that limits hours of operations in cases where businesses abut residential.
With the proper City zoning and Master Planning, the above argument should never have become an issue. Industrial should never abut residential. The recent situation involving the Interlock-Meadowbrook Lake pending case is an example of poor planning. It again reveals the old scenario where once again big money S.E.V. (additional tax revenues) become a more important priority to the City of Novi than the residents and the stability of neighborhoods.
I think that along with re-examining the above Ordinance, there should be some thought of revising the residential abutment to industrial properties ordinance. As I suggested, perhaps an Ordinance should be implemented calling for no abutment of Industrial and Residential properties. That would be the best and most clear-cut type of Ordinance. If you want a compromise, at least call for a greenbelt buffer of considerable distance between the two types of above zoning to discourage the use.
25614 Gina Court
Member Taub said the second letter was from Lynn F. Kocan dated August 2, 1995 regarding Limitation of Hours in I-1 Districts abutting residential properties:
"Dear Members of the Planning Commission:"
As you know, I favor a limitation on the hours of operation for those businesses in light industrial districts which directly abut Residential properties. I would like you to consider the following as you review your packet of materials and reflect on comments made at previous meetings, as well as the upcoming public hearing.
Proximity to Residential - As you review the City map which has been color-coded to reflect those districts which would be impacted, look at the acreage of the I-1 property as well as the residential property. How large is the parcel of industrial property. How much setback could there be when the residential is zoned R-A compared to R-4? Is the residential property currently developed? Is the industrial property currently developed? There is a significant difference between moving into a neighborhood where there is undeveloped land versus developed land. For instance, Farmer Jacks existed before the apartments - those residents had a choice. Hickory Corporate Park was listed as "vacant" on the 1967 Master Plan and was Master Planned "residential" in 1980. Many Meadowbrook Lake residents believed the Master Plan would be upheld and, therefore, did NOT make the choice to live next to industrial.
Intensity of Use (i.e., office versus factory operation) - The intensity of the operation could potentially "move" a light industrial operation into a different tier or even a heavy industrial classification.
Justification of limiting hours of operations for specific services - The City is on record with respect to adverse impact: there are restrictions for the hours of refuse collection, recognizing normal business hours and sleeping hours, there are restrictions for the hours of construction activities. The same kind of restrictions should be extended to industrial operations which would abut residential properties.
Other Communities - Although there may be no comparable ordinance in surrounding communities, there are communities which require a buffer zone of commercial between industrial and residential zones. Residents in Troy are opposed to 24-hour research operations next to their subdivisions (Exhibit 1). The City Council is reviewing that proposal at this time. Huntington Woods just enacted a new Ordinance restricting the time of service and the amount of equipment for lawn service contractors (Exhibit 2). They recognized this quality-of-life issue and (en)acted accordingly.
Enforcement - Every Ordinance which applies to evening hours is subject to the same enforcement throughout the City. I believe enforcement can be handled at the Planning table, especially if there is specific verbiage in the Ordinance. The proper verbiage can certainly be developed to protect residential districts while incorporating a mix of industrial and commercial.
I understand the purpose of this public hearing is to gather all the necessary information and then made a recommendation to City Council regarding the feasibility of amending the current I-1 Ordinance. Should you have any questions that you would like answered either before or at the meeting, please do not hesitate to call me.
Lynn F. Kocan
23088 Ennishore Drive
No items on Consent Agenda.
1. 24 HOUR OPERATIONS
To consider the operating hours for Light Industrial uses that are adjacent to residential districts.
The purpose of this public hearing is to solicit the comments of both the residential and business community in an open forum, and for the Planning Commission to consider the merits of establishing regulatory language that would prohibit Light Industrial uses from operating on a 24 hour basis.
Chairperson Lorenzo then asked for everyone's indulgence as she established a format and a guideline for that evening. She said firstly, any members of the public who wish to speak were asked to complete a 3 x 5 card with their name and address on it and to give them to Mr. Cohen who would then forward those cards to her and as the cards were received, she would call upon members of the public in the order as received.
Chairperson Lorenzo said when the members of the public were called upon to speak in order to be fair, they would not have the option at that time of passing and speaking later.
Chairperson Lorenzo said secondly, any members of the public would be asked to limit their comments to three minutes each and if they were speaking on behalf of a group, she would ask that they identify those members for which they were speaking and they would be afforded a five minute limitation at that point. She said those individuals they were representing would be asked not to comment individually.
Chairperson Lorenzo said also as a matter of courtesy to all speakers and so that they could conduct their business here within a reasonable time-frame, she would ask that the public refrain from any cheering or jeering. Also, when the issue was turned over to the Planning Commission, she would suggest that each Commissioner would identify those adverse impacts with regard to the 24-hour Operation that he or she believes was not currently adequately addressed in their ordinances and make suggestions as to how those issues might be addressed in the future.
Chairperson Lorenzo said in other words, if they go down the line and everyone has an opportunity to identify their position and what they identify as adverse impacts, they also might have the option at that point of three particular actions. She said one would be to ask for additional information and research by the Administration and Staff and the second might be to consider referring the matter to the Implementation Committee for further study or they might possibly make recommendations to amend the I-1 Zoning Ordinance.
Chairperson Lorenzo said she would hope that at least by the end of the meeting, they could have some consensus and direction of at least one of those places.
Mr. Capote began by indicating he would like to give the Commission an overview, and he felt he has said everything he would say about this topic at this time until the Planning Commission gives him further direction that evening. He said everything has been provided in their packet in the past and they have had a chance to think about it.
Mr. Capote said in short, when the Interlock project came before the Commission seeking site plan approval, this issue was brought to the Planning Commission by the residents that abut that area and they expressed their concerns as they wished to continue the peaceful existence and living in their homes without having any adverse impact whatsoever to the developing lands adjacent to their property.
Mr. Capote said and the Planning Commission being sensitive to their concerns, recommended that the Implementation Committee which was a sub-committee of the Planning Commission look into the matter and it took some time to get before the Implementation Committee due to other items that this Committee has been looking at.
Mr. Capote said eventually after the Committee had a chance to review this issue, they directed him to go out and look for information as to what problems currently exist in this community relative to this issue and how many complaints were there to the Police Department when a business was operating in the evening hours from 10:00 to 6:00 in the morning and how many times the City at any level has been contacted.
Mr. Capote said in contacting the Police Department and the recordskeeper, they could think of none and that was not to say that it hasn't happened. He said unfortunately, the way in which the records were stored in the computer system, they were not able to retrieve this information easily and it was just the way the data apparently was assembled and the limitation probably of the software, but in talking to the Dispatch Center, that individual indicated that they could recall no problem or any recent number of cars going out and investigating something.
Mr. Capote stated in reporting this information back to the Implementation Committee, there was a feeling that they need to find some evidence that identifies a problem exists before they establish any kind of a control in hopes that it would address whatever problem was out there, whatever it might be, and not only just the 24 Operations. He said in all fairness, it was important that they try to find something.
Mr. Capote said during the discussions, they also talked about the possibilities of workers coming in the evening hours to and fro on break or having a cigarette break outside that maybe during the evening hours a nearby home may be vulnerable to intrusion, robbery, etc., and that was certainly a possibility, as well as it was a possibility during a day when the resident was probably at work, and they could find no evidence that there was an increase in robberies or any kind of intrusion or theft in any manner.
Mr. Capote said so they looked further for more information and not only in Novi but in other communities too and they wanted to possibly look at other community's Zoning Ordinances to see how they have addressed this problem, and if it has been a problem and they could find none.
Mr. Capote said in contacting the American Planning Association, they have a planning advisory service, and they have a large record of ordinances throughout the country that were on file, and it was a valuable resource to cities and planners to find sample ordinances that may be helpful, and he could find no information that might address this issue except for the way the City of Novi addresses this issue and that was through performance standards and required conditions, which were already in place in their Ordinances and that was part of the packet material that he presented to them some time ago and it has been duplicated again for them that evening.
Mr. Capote said so as the issues were once discussed during Implementation Committee meetings, the Committee remained split and there was no consensus except to possibly take it to the Planning Commission as a discussion item and that was done and during that discussion, the Planning Commission was split as to what really needs to be done with this, and they could find no problems and he presented his findings and it was recommended that it go on to the City Council as a discussion item. He said they had come up with some basic sample language for the Council to review to possibly make a suggestion back to the Planning Commission and the Commission agreed to that and the Minutes reflect that.
Mr. Capote said upon doing that, the Council sent it back and said the Commission had 45 days to give the Council a recommendation as to what they want to do and it came back to the Planning Commission with further discussion and then it was recommended that they hold a Public Hearing and now they were doing that to solicit all the comments from the residents and to hear all of their concerns, because maybe they were not hearing from the Police Department and if there was an issue here, then they need to install something in the Ordinance to protect them.
Mr. Capote said he also hoped the business residents were present that night and could express their concerns as this kind of control would restrict the use of the land and he felt that was one of the big considerations that he hoped the Commission would think about very carefully.
Mr. Capote said he was anxious to listen to see what happens that evening and their wish was his command and he would do what he could and would wait for their direction as to what he should do.
Member Vrettas then said he noticed one item in the packet that he would like them to think about and he was referring to a letter from Mr. Wizinski, who was discussing something similar but different too.
Member Vrettas said Mr. Wizinski's concern dealt with deliveries and trucks coming in the middle of the night on properties next to him. He said a red flag went up to him about the possibility of trucks doing deliveries and dumping in the middle of the night when the City's inspectors were not on duty.
Member Vrettas said he worked and lived in Northeast Ohio and it became a dumping ground for awhile there for hazardous wastes, and trucks would come into Northeast Ohio to the smaller towns where he was working and would dump in the middle of the night, so when he saw this letter he felt they need to address this separately because that might be what was happening there. He said maybe they could look into that one letter.
Mr. Capote asked if that was a recommendation that it go to the Implementation Committee or to only himself. Member Vrettas said he just didn't want it to get lost in the shuffle and he would defer to the Chair for that.
Chairperson Lorenzo said they would include that letter after their discussion.
Mr. Doug Bateson of 23059 Gilbar was present but he declined to speak.
Mr. Karl Wizinsky of 26850 Wixom Road was present. He said he had two points to bring up and one has already been brought up. He said much of the discussion that has taken place on this subject relates to developing industrial sites next to residential. He said in the west part of the City, as well as in the north, they have almost the opposite, where they have existing industrial sites both light and heavy industrial next to undeveloped residential.
Mr. Wizinsky said that poses a problem which he has not heard addressed and it probably needs some attention and that was the grandfathering clause and when they have an industrial site, they were not subject to current or more recently enacted zoning ordinances and that means they could continue doing the operations that they did when they opened up their business. He said that could create some differences between the older industrial sites and those that were developing today.
Mr. Wizinsky said so in consideration of any ordinance, he felt they need to broaden the scope to not depend too heavily on existing building ordinances because they were not relevant to existing industrial sites.
Mr. Wizinsky said his second point was the fact that the City of Novi currently does not have either Ordinance Officers or a weighmaster that was on duty after hours and basically they have their normal business hours of 8:30-5:00 and he believed that at least in his area, there was additional trucking that goes on after hours because there was no monitoring of trucks and regardless of what ordinances were passed, there has to be a way to monitor and enforce the ordinances otherwise there would be no improvement.
Mr. Robert Duryea of 35241 Drakeshire, representing Progressive Tool, was present. He indicated he was the associate corporate counsel for Progressive Tool in Southfield Michigan, which happens to be one of the largest taxpayers in the City of Novi and they have eight separate facilities here.
Mr. Duryea said after looking at the map and studying it, he only saw two facilities that possibly could deal with the residential industrial problem and he was going to go through elaborate detail on that, but he felt Mr. Capote summed it up perfectly by saying there hasn't been a problem with this at all, and he would ask why the Commission wanted to change it and there was absolutely no evidence that there was a problem with this and he was not speaking for the entire City of Novi, but was speaking for the eight locations that they have.
Mr. Duryea said the two that basically were involved with the possibility of this Ordinance were on Heslip which abuts to multiple family and Wisne Automation on Ten Mile just east of Novi Road and those were the two and the other six facilities were not involved. He said from what he has heard that night, there was no reason to change it, and he would just recommend to the Commission that maybe they shouldn't change it.
Mr. James Korte of 2026 Austin was present. He said as they all know, the City does not enforce their Ordinances and if the Ordinances were in place as they now stand, they wouldn't all be there. He said it was his belief that in this situation, an overkill of a specific ordinance could only help.
Mr. Korte asked do they buy the fire extinguisher after the house burns down and do they lock the barn door after the horse has exited? He felt preventive anything and everything was better than waiting until the crisis happens.
Mr. Korte discussed the integrity of subdivisions in this City. He said he sits on the board of the South Lake, East Lake and Shawood Lake/Walled Lake Heights Subdivisions which were all established before 1920 and they have read their abstracts. He said the township never enforced anything and the City doesn't do much better and the integrity of this City depends on the caliber of its residents.
Mr. Korte said he personally has been fighting to get rid of the barrier called 12 Mile Road, which makes the good side of the City, and the bad side of the City, and never once has he suggested to reduce the requirements so that the good side becomes worse and they don't have to work so hard.
Mr. Korte said when he hears someone saying there wasn't a reason, they should come to the recreational area at the north end and they would see every reason on the face of the earth to stop it because they could be what the north end developed into ten years ago and were fighting so desperately to come above.
Mr. Korte said so when everyone says what was the problem, it was the integrity and if they think there wasn't a problem, they should come to their subdivisions and they would understand the lack of Ordinance enforcement.
Ms. LaReta Roder of Clark Street was present. She indicated she lived in the Novi Heights Subdivision abutting industrial. She said she has been connected to this City for more than 23 years and her husband has worked for the City for 24 years and 9 months. She said in his capacity as a police officer, he has seen much of the impact, both good and bad, that has occurred with the residential and industrial growth in this City.
Mr. Roder said about 25 years ago this was a quiet wonderful place to live and raise a family and City services were nominal, infrastructure lacking and places to shop few and far between. She said about the only change that has taken place was there were now lots of places to shop. She said her taxes have quadrupled and traffic was terrible and noise and pollution was rampant and the City was still not listening to its residents.
Mr. Roder said the Novi News on the 27th of July wrote an article regarding that night's meeting and it detailed the extraordinary effort being made to notify businesses and developers of the proposed 24 hour ban on operations. She said she hoped the same effort was made by the City employees to notify residents and homeowner associations and it does stand to reason that they who bear the burden of living next door to industrial operations would be the most able to comment on its effect. She said it also stands to reason that those who were qualified to vote for City officials, as opposed to just paying taxes, should be notified.
Ms. Roder said however this meeting was not even posted in the Community Events calendar of the newspaper. She said she was opposed to allow 24 Hour Operations next to residential as it compromises their quality of life and environment and it increases any number of potential hazards from traffic accidents, to fires and to criminal behavior and it also increases the noise pollution.
Ms. Roder said residential areas should have some right to protection from degradation of their quality of life and so far the City has been anything but responsive to the serious problems that have grown over the past 25 years and it was now time for the City to show those who vote for the Administration that they were aware and were responsive and would in fact, follow the will of the people and not the almighty dollar and it was time for the City to enact this safeguard for what should be their primary concern, their residents.
Ms. Lynn Kocan of 23088 Ennishore Drive was present. She indicated she was not speaking for the Homeowners Association, and they were not aware of the limitation so she would not want any of her neighbors not to be able to speak that evening.
Ms. Kocan said the purpose of this hearing was very similar to the Statement of Purpose of the Implementation Review Committee, which was, "Research and develop Zoning Ordinance Amendments designed to address shortcomings or gaps in existing Zoning Ordinances as related to identified problems and also investigate innovative planning and zoning practices for new approaches to develop issues, problems and opportunities."
Ms. Kocan said a problem has been identified and a 24 hour factory was not compatible with existing and abutting residential and residents in Novi were not the only ones who feel this way. She stated as they read in the recent Detroit News Article about people in Troy, perhaps the reason they have been having so much trouble with this amendment request was because a 24 Hour Operation was a manufacturing plant being allowed in a light industrial zone and it appears to be more a matter of classification of an industry and what constitutes light industry.
Ms. Kocan said she has read and reread the Zoning Ordinances and there were tiers within the light industrial zoning because it has already been determined that certain uses were more intensive than others, and offices were considered the least intensive use, research and development, warehousing and certain manufacturing uses comprise Tier 2 and require special land use approval.
Ms. Kocan asked why the distinction and she was sure it wasn't because of what was going on only in the parking lot and if parking lot traffic was the only consideration when the tiers within the Ordinance was developed, offices would be the most intensive use and this could be verified by the Traffic Consultants.
Ms. Kocan said it was what was going on inside the building that determines its intensity and when they have what has been classified as a Tier 2 use and add a 24 Hour Operation to it, it becomes even more intensive and no longer belongs in the Tier 2 classification. She said she would like to know how the classifications were determined.
Ms. Kocan said the City was proposing a new OS-3 District and the purpose of this District was to allow multi-use office, laboratory, production uses, high tech multi-use activities, having accessory assembly production and manufacturing operations, and even though this was not a hearing about Interlock, she was using that development as her example.
Ms. Kocan said the corporate headquarters with accompanying research and development offices, as well as a 24 Hour manufacturing plant, belongs in the OS-3 classification. She said because of the intensity of the uses of OS-3 industries in this classification, the Ordinance states, "shall not be located on a building site adjacent to and/or sharing a common boundary with any industrial district."
Ms. Kocan said when a development, which should be classified as OS-3 was also classified as I-1, something was wrong and at the very least, the limitations on that development should default to the most intensive use and the most restrictive regulation, therefore, the development should not be allowed abutting residential.
Ms. Kocan said because of the problem of the classification, the residents have had to request an Ordinance and they currently have Ordinances on the books that state for the Master Plan, "to assure that negative impacts on residential area from non-residential uses were minimized as much as possible, and development reflects a commitment to thoughtful planning through commitment to eliminate undesirable land use combinations."
Ms. Kocan said Section 1900 states, "To protect neighboring residential districts from any adverse impacts." She said for the special land use, Section 2516 states, "proposed use will be compatible with surrounding zoning." She said there were also ordinances that already address quality of life, and Section 2519.10 differentiates between acceptable noise levels during "normal work periods of between the hours of 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM" and "the sleeping hours or between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM."
Ms. Kocan said Section 2298 regarding construction activity states, "it shall be unlawful to conduct construction activities except between the hours of 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM, Monday through Saturday."
Ms. Kocan said their request was a quality of life issue therefore, to aid in the classification of industries and to clarify the intent of Section 1900, and to comply with other stated conditions as stated in Section 2516 and the Master Plan, they were requesting an amendment which would assure and ensure consistent interpretation and implementation of supporting documents and ordinances. She said while the residents would certainly welcome regulations regarding additional setbacks, beefing up screening requirements or perhaps requiring additional sound barriers between their residences and the light industrial district, they were requesting that the hours of operation of those industries, which require special land use in I-1 Districts, be limited to the hours of 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM.
Ms. Kocan said if a development could not comply with those hours, then it was more intensive than the zoning specifies and cannot and should not be allowed to abut residential. She said she would hope that their recommendation to City Council eliminates the ambiguity which was currently in the Ordinance and she would hope that their recommendation addresses also the shortcomings within the existing ordinances as well as reflects the concern and respect that the residents of Novi deserves.
Mr. Wisne of Wisne Automation, 42445 W. Ten Mile, was present. He indicated he was one of the owners of the Progressive Tool Industries and they also own the other eight facilities in Novi.
Mr. Wisne said Wise Automation has been in operation now for 17 years in Novi and in those 17 years, they have had one complaint about noise in the evening and they have taken care of that and they close the doors. He felt the industrial people could work very well with their neighbors and they have put up berms and trees and they have never had another complaint with noise levels, trucking or anything else coming in.
Mr. Wisne indicated they were one of the largest taxpayers in the City and as a result, it was their dollars that was building the infrastructure that was there that was improving the quality of life for the residents.
Mr. Wisne said they have taken a building such as the Portec building which was probably the greatest single eyesore entering the City of Novi off of the expressway and made it into a high-tech facility and it was very pleasing to look at.
Mr. Wisne said they have just completed another 156,000 sq. ft. expansion to that facility and they were always looking to expand and they were continuously expanding and they would like to continue to expand in Novi. He said with this ordinance, he would have to really give it second thoughts.
Mr. Wisne said he can't believe the City would consider restricting land use for a facility that meets the zoning requirements that were put on there and telling him that he would be restricted on the way he uses that land when he meets the zoning requirements. He stated he would have to definitely look at that very seriously and he hoped that they could actually table this whole thing and forget it.
Mr. Wisne said the City has the zoning ordinances now and they work but it was up to the City to enforce those ordinances.
Ms. Rosemarie Denton of 41447 Glyme was present. She said neighboring residential districts must be protected from developments in regards to any adverse impacts and she asked to please comply with the City ordinances that speak to "effecting in a detrimental way any of the surrounding districts."
Ms. Denton said if they look at a residential area, they would realize that who and what happens within that dwelling effects what happens outside of the dwelling. She said consider a young married couple working with no children occupying a home, versus a family with teenagers and recent high school graduates. She said the family with the teenagers often have cars and kids coming and going, parties all hours of the day and night, and she wasn't going to be rude and call the police and have her neighbors upset because of the noise, so she would ignore it.
Ms. Denton said the married couple working generally has a quiet lifestyle and her reason for mentioning them was to demonstrate who and what happens inside, determines what takes place outside and curfews. She said there were other such laws on the books and they help to speak to the "party party" or the younger crowd.
Ms. Denton said likewise the 24 Hour Operation would adversely impact abutting residential properties in an I-1 District and consequently hours of operation should be limited for those businesses in light industrial properties which abut residential properties and it was reasonable to limit hours from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM when abutting residential properties, especially in those established residential areas.
Ms. Denton said responsible development was a must and the Ordinance needs to be clarified to ensure that ambiguity was eliminated. She said it was reasonable for hours of operation to be limited to the hours of 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM when abutting residential property, and she would like to commend Mr. Korte and Ms. Kocan for what they both had to say and the research they have taken and that information spoke loudly to her and she truly hoped they would consider all their comments.
Chairperson Lorenzo indicated the Commission would consider everyone's comments.
Mr. Kenneth Pickl of 23035 Balcombe was present. He said he has prepared his comments under the old rules of Audience Participation. He said he and his wife have lived on Balcombe for 25 years now this past August and he had a couple of comments to make.
Mr. Pickl said he didn't want to be repetitious but contrary to the article in the Novi News, they did know what the Ordinances were when they bought their home when they moved in and they expect responsible divisions of government to enforce the ordinances, just as they expect the Novi Police Department and Fire Department to protect the residents by enforcing the laws.
Mr. Pickl said he had one suggestion which was when the Interlock Corporation bought the lots, they fully intended to request variances to the ordinances and this becomes very apparent when they review the site plan changes that they have made, so this property was purchased fully intending to ask for variances and somehow they had to have some assurance that this was not going to be a problem.
Mr. Pickl said he would like to give the Commission a hypothetical case. He said Interlock has stated that they would have 169 people on their dayshift and they would have 37 each on the night shift and the afternoon shift. He said they were concerned about the goings and comings of those 37 people on each shift and this means at 11:00 at night or thereabouts, 37 people were going to be coming to work and about a half hour later, 37 people were going to be departing and the same routine was going to be repeated at 6:00 AM in the morning.
Mr. Pickl said if they were to organize a 37 people group to come before the Commission and their houses, either front or back, and simulate a shift change, he felt they would find some way to throttle them and not allow this to continue to disrupt their way of life. He said all the residents were trying to do was prevent this from becoming a real problem, and not only for them in Meadowbrook Lake Subdivision, but for future developments that abut and that was the real key - abutting commercial property.
Mr. Pickl indicated they were not concerned about the people who were doing something about it and who were already established and they were apparently handling it, but without a change in the Ordinance that has some restriction on it and some protection for them, all the citizens, and not just Meadowbrook Lake, need help.
Mr.. Pickl added there was a parking lot on the site plan with 73 platted parking spaces that would be right outside his bedroom window and he needs the Commission's help.
Mr. Phil Polny of 41816 Chattman Drive was present. He said he called three area communities to see if they were facing the problems Novi was facing. He said Livonia indicated they don't have the problems Novi was facing because most of their industrial belt was between Schoolcraft and Plymouth Road. He said Northville indicated it was not a problem to them because they separate their residential from their industrial. He said Farmington indicated the same thing but prior to Planning Commissions, they zoned whatever they felt like it at that time, so there were some residential areas abutting industrial areas.
Mr. Polny said they tried, after the Planning Commission came into being, to develop the area between the industrial belts and the residential areas into some kind of commercial, be it apartments, be it a 7-Eleven, whatever kind of thing that would develop there and would be of a benefit to the community.
Mr. Polny said instead of going into the national organization, possibly they could look at the communities around Novi and see what they have done with this kind of problem because he has noticed on the map that there were a lot of areas that were not developed yet and if this problem here was not solved in some way so that they have a balance between the commercial and the residential areas, the Commission was going to see a lot of people coming before them on a lot of different situations, but basically it was the same situation and that was the problem with industrial areas abutting residential areas.
Ms. Sue Subject of 41448 Glyme was present. Ms. Subject said to her the Ordinance that was currently written supports the concept of not allowing businesses with 24 Hour Operations to abut residential. She said Ordinance No. 1900 already stipulates that it should at all times protect neighboring residential districts from any adverse impacts and protect the character and established pattern of adjacent developments. She believed 24 Hour Operations create adverse impacts and were not compatible with the pattern or quality of life of residential developments. She said she believed the hours should be limited from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM but 10:00 PM was better than unlimited hours.
Mr. Jerry Cox of 23214 Balcombe was present. He began first by indicating his congratulations to the new Chairperson and he also welcomed the new members of the Commission. He then said as members of the Implementation know, he and some of his neighbors have attended their meetings. He said they were opposed to the 24 Hour Operation next to residential for many of the reasons already stated.
Mr. Cox said in using the Master Plan, which he presumed was the most recent one, 83% of the City was zoned for residential use, so obviously they have a City that was basically designed for residential occupancy and not so much for industrial occupancy, although they obviously have a significant taxpayer in the Audience that evening, but he would imagine his taxes don't equal those of 83% of the City that was zoned for residential.
Mr. Cox said the City has to understand that the hours of operation and the negative impact that comes with those hours certainly was the bottom line and that was why everyone was here, and the adverse impact that has been stated before in 1900 should be self-evident because he knows that most of the Planning Commission meetings, whether it be for this or other site plans, were generally not as well attended as they were when it has to do with industrial abutting residential. He said so that right there tells them that it was a qualify of life issue and something that people were very concerned about.
Mr. Cox said with that being said, they should also remember that Novi was not trying to keep out industry totally, and according to the same map here, Novi was #4 among Oakland County municipalities in the new industrial building and that was for construction costs and then Novi was #5 in the State Equalized Value as of 1992 with the industry that they have.
Mr. Cox said so they were not just precluding people from coming in and setting up work here. He felt there was a possibility of some type of compromise in looking at the Master Plan Map and it appears that in addition to the Hickory Corporate Park, the only other areas that really were of any significance were between Taft and Beck, south of Grand River, and a small portion of land that was south of Grand River and east of Meadowbrook Road, and that was what he looked at when he looked at the map.
Mr. Cox said he felt it may be of some solace to the people who have this industrial property, that if they were the guys that were there first, before the residential area was developed, there may be some greater leeway as to what their hours of operation might be and there could be more consideration as to how roads were established and buffers and berms, etc., but when the zoning was for light industrial against an already developed residential area, he felt it was imperative upon the Planning Commission that they adhere to Section 1900 guidance to avoid any adverse impacts to the abutting residential.
Mr. Norman Young of 22827 Balcombe was present. He said he and his family have resided in Meadowbrook Lake for more than 26 years now and they have always known that some form of development would ultimately be proposed for the land to the west of their subdivision and all they have ever asked of the City was that any development should provide reasonable protection to the residents and be consistent with the letter and the intent of the zoning laws.
Mr. Young said his homestead abuts the Hickory Corporate Park and would be impacted by whatever was developed there, but their concerns go beyond their personal situation. He said it was their opinion that the practice of allowing around-the-clock industrial operations in areas abutting residential was not consistent with the Ordinance and could therefore only lead to further conflicts.
Mr. Young said any debate should not be about berms, sound barriers and setbacks, which at their best could only attempt to minimize, but never eliminate the obvious problems that were created by such activities, and rather they should be focusing on correcting the ordinance wording that allows such occupancies to be even considered in the first place.
Mr. Young said some years ago the residents of Meadowbrook Lake cooperated with the City in drafting the current I-1 restrictions and they believe that their concerns have been adequately addressed and they were sure that the integrity of their neighborhood would be protected by the ordinance wordings. He said it was their opinion that the restrictions were intended to be exclusionary in nature, that is, designed to keep out any form of activity that could be construed as disruptive to the residences and could never be interpreted as allowing industrial plants with around-the-clock operations on such parcels.
Mr. Young said but now some of the City planners seem to feel that they could not impose restrictions on extensive hours of operations because they were not specifically mentioned in the Ordinance, so what they were really asking was that the citizens' level of protection be restored by clarifying the issue in writing. He said they don't need a whole new Ordinance, but just one simple sentence in the current I-1 wording should be sufficient.
Mr. Young said this should not create any deterrent to future development in Novi as some people seem to fear and frankly as they drive around Novi, they were hard-pressed to find more than a handful of industrial businesses that operate on any kind of extended hour basis. He said for example, in the industrial area to the west and south of the Hickory Corporate Park, there were more than 50 companies and they have been unable to find any evidence of any of them that conduct industrial operations around the clock.
Mr. Young said so it seems to him that there doesn't appear to be any overwhelming supply of businesses clamoring for admittance and certainly in a City that was less than half developed, it shouldn't be too difficult to find appropriate locations for the few companies that need to operate that way and in the process, preserve the basic character of their residential zoning districts.
Mr. Young said they must always remember that Novi was first and foremost a residential community and their number one priority must be the preservation of the quality of life of the residents and anything that detracts from that objective would ultimately result in an adverse impact on the entire City of Novi.
Mr. Kyle Muston of 40559 Oakwood Drive was present. She said she was here about a year ago at this time with the same concerns and she certainly shared the concerns of all of the members of the Meadowbrook Lake Subdivision but she was from a different subdivision, Village Oaks. She indicated she had great concern about the traffic that would be generated by this 24 Hour Operation. She said she had to chuckle when Mr. Capote gave his rendition of checking with the Novi Police Department as to complaints and things given, as she also had called the Novi Police Department. She said she has only lived here for five years, and in the last five years, she has been astounded by the amount of traffic that utilizes 9 Mile Road from Haggerty to Meadowbrook Road.
Ms. Muston said she has called the Novi Police numerous times and have asked them to give her a scenario as she wanted to have some concrete evidence as to how many traffic tickets have been written for speeding because speeding down 9 Mile Road in that area was a definite concern and there were four subdivisions within that radius, and many children cross there.
Ms. Muston said to her amazement the Novi Police said to her they really don't know and they couldn't give her a number of traffic tickets that have been issued and she had questioned why they could not tell her if there was a speeding concern on 9 Mile Road and they had indicated they write a lot of tickets there but they really couldn't retrieve that information, so when Mr. Capote said he couldn't give them any concrete evidence as to the problems and concerns, she could certainly relate to that.
Ms. Muston said when a Police Department could not even tell them about a concern as to speeding on the road or how many cars do go over the speed limit, she wasn't at all surprised that they were not able to retrieve any information regarding Mr. Capote's concerns.
Ms. Muston said she felt it was a heavy statement to make in front of the Council that the Planning Commission was not able to say that there were no problems. She said there were very serious problems on 9 Mile Road and where she lives on 9 Mile Road between Haggerty and Meadowbrook, people don't even sit outside in their backyards anymore because the traffic was terrible and the trucks and noises were horrible.
Ms. Muston indicated she has relayed those comments to Member Lorenzo sometime during the summer and they did a traffic study and she had to chuckle at the traffic study because she did an informational study as to how they conducted this study and it was indicated a person sat in a car out at the subdivision and she didn't think that was reliable and she had a lot of concerns about that.
Ms. Muston said her basic reason for addressing them that night was she felt they really do need to take into consideration the private lives of people and how the noise impact would impact them along with the truck traffic, along with the additional trafficking of the workers going to and from and coming right back to the same old thing. She said Novi has a big concern as to not being able to take care of their Ordinances that were in place now. She said the police officer had said that to her, and said they do not have the manpower to concern themselves with all of the trafficking and speeding that goes on at this location.
Ms. Muston said she didn't want any more trucks and any more traffic going down her street in the wee hours of the morning, let alone at other times, but the 24 hours was something they need to look at hard because they were not able to enforce what they have now and that was a big concern and something they should look at very carefully.
Mr. Garry Kidd of 22883 Penton Rise Court was present. He said not being able to find some businesses that were causing trouble was not helping the problem in any way because they could have 100 businesses that were fabulous and all it takes was one bad one and if they put a bad one in, the City would be in serious trouble.
Mr. Kidd said they could write an Ordinance that the 100 businesses go into operation with and it was all fine and there were no problems but if they get a bad one in, their ordinance already exists and they couldn't do anything about it. He said that was the concern he had.
Mr. Kidd said he was against the 24-hour operations as most of the people in the Audience were and he also should say that it was not fair for good citizen industrial businesses to come in here and say they don't want this ordinance and they were good citizens and they may not be a problem and they haven't been a problem, but if they were not careful with the Ordinance, they were going to let someone in that was not a good citizen.
Mr. Kidd said it bothers him to sit through those meetings several times a year ago until 3:00 in the morning and realizing that the majority of the decisions that he saw made were not made based on the citizen input, but they were made based on politics and that really bothers him because they could stand up there and talk until they were blue in the face, and it wouldn't do any good.
Mr. Kidd said those Commissioners that were new have to remember that they represent the people of the City. He said he knows they were appointed by the Mayor and he understood what Member Taub went through and he feels for him as to what he went through with the Mayor's treatment and if that was what someone gets for representing the people of the City, that was a shame.
Mr. Kidd said he has been there in the City for 25 years and that has been the worse situation that he has seen in this City and he was embarrassed to tell people he was from Novi because of that. He said he didn't want to be embarrassed as he felt Novi was a good City and he felt they need to keep it a good City. He said in order to do that, they really don't need a new ordinance as the wording in the existing ordinances were adequate but the problem was that the people have chosen to interpret them in such a way that they could do as they darn well please.
Mr. Kidd said it clearly says they don't want anything that was detrimental to abutting residential districts but people would make up their own mind and say this wasn't detrimental but it was and it would be, and they should put it next to their house if they feel it was okay, otherwise don't put in next to their subdivision or anyone else's subdivision.
Mr. Kidd also indicated he did not abut this property and he was at the corner of Meadowbrook on Penton Rise Court near Nine Mile Road and he didn't have the specific problem but he did have a specific concern about the citizens of Novi and about the quality of life in Novi and about the future of Novi and he hoped the Commissioners did too.
Mr. Ed Kramer of 22809 Balcombe was present. He said awhile ago he worked on the Planning Commission and he helped develop the Ordinance that they were speaking about and that was when they re-did the I-1 and their purpose at that time was to re-do it and they did work with the residents of Meadowbrook Lake and it was to make adjustments in the Ordinance to make I-1 compatible when it was adjacent to residential.
Mr. Kramer said light industrial he believed in his best recollection of their discussions was not considered an intensive use at the time and there were unknowns and he felt they had covered that by providing for a Tier 2 use provision of public hearings and special land use.
Mr. Kramer said he believed there were some questions both then and now as to whether hours of operation was the purview of a Zoning Ordinance or if it really belongs as a City Ordinance out of City Council. He believed that problem deterred them from tackling the issue at the time.
Mr. Kramer said again their focus was to make the two uses compatible and they have indicated in their somewhat limited research that they found no evidence of problems and he did believe that the City Ordinances, particularly the Zoning Ordinances, were enforced by the Building Department and not the Police Department so they should check with them.
Mr. Kramer also said if they check the Planning Commission records of the last year or so, the last series of public hearings that were held on the subject, he believed the Clark Subdivision residents came through indicating they had problems with the Arbor Drug Warehouse operation which was adjacent to them.
Mr. Kramer said in addition, if they check with the Ordinance Enforcement Division Officers, they would find that their subdivision has complained about dumpster operation on Heslip which was a half mile away. He said he felt that was evidence that back-up beepers and dumpster operation noise carries a very long distance and a back-up beeper was a very piercing sound and was designed to be and required by OSHA on trucks and forklifts.
Mr. Kramer said regarding the concerns as expressed here, he felt the major ones were parking lot operation, although they may say that they could cover that by shielding berms and he felt they need to cover the operation of the business itself and he had no idea what they do about trucks loading and unloading.
Mr. Kramer questioned what do they do. He said what do they do as a Planning Commission member and he had had good faith that they created a good ordinance and provided for compatible land use at the time, enough so that after, he went on to purchase a house on Balcombe. He felt it was up to the current Planning Commission and the current City Administration to uphold the purpose that they set out to do.
Mr. Kramer said he believed that they heard a lot of good input that night and he felt they need to take it under thoughtful consideration and perhaps it was totally appropriate to live with what they have particularly, if there was evidence that what they have was acceptable or should they invite more problems, and it sounds to him from the evidence that has been presented, there were holes in what they did a few years ago that they now have information that says they need to make adjustments.
Mr. Kramer said he wasn't sure it was in the Zoning Ordinance, but he felt the Commission and the City Council have to wrestle with that, but it seems appropriate that some actions were required and he asked that they please take some.
Ms. Lisa Barton of 41635 Chattman was present. She said she agreed with many of the comments that night and she would not repeat them, but she would say, they have the police here to enforce their laws, which they raise their children to follow and she felt they were all in the City asked to follow the rules and laws and most people do comply with that.
Ms. Barton said her husband was an attorney and they both went over this entire issue and the Ordinance and what would and would not be allowed and her husband indicated there just was no issue here and the Ordinance was very clear and the legal writing was very clear as to what was allowed and what was not allowed, but yet she felt somehow the interpretation has been allowed to be changed by the Commission and then the onus went on the residents.
Ms. Barton felt the residents were respectful and they come and object respectfully and follow the rules and she felt the Meadowbrook Lake residents should be applauded for peacefully and respectfully coming to make their objections.
Ms. Barton then said she was asking personally that they as residents of the City of Novi be accorded the same respect and she felt everyone was there to serve and she applauded them for that and they give a lot of their time and it was appreciated, but sometimes they forget who serves who, and they were there to serve the members of the community and that also included businesses and they also need to be accorded respect but she did not think Novi lacks for businesses in Novi and they turn every corner and they have malls and they have a very large tax base and they were not a City that was dying for tax revenues.
Ms. Barton said and yet somehow, she has sat through a Commission meeting where a restaurant proposed in the Peachtree Plaza was turned down as being an adverse impact on the neighborhood that it abutted because there would be extra garbage put out back and the hours might run later than normal businesses, but then there was this plastics injection business that has a 24 hour shift operation and also abuts the neighboring residential area. She said there were rules and she was very perplexed as to why it was even considered that there might be room in the Ordinance to say that this was okay.
Ms. Barton said she felt that they shouldn't even have to be here to argue it and it seems so plain and clear that the Ordinance was there to protect them and she would ask them to look at it carefully and it doesn't seem to be that complicated to her and she asked that they please follow what was written so that they could get the service that they volunteered for and she appreciated that.
Ms. Barton said she also wanted to mention that many neighbors were moving into the Chase Farms Subdivision and spending a lot on their homes as they all do in Novi, and there were so many people moving into that area that were totally unaware because they do not have a formal neighborhood association yet and they would become a powerful neighborhood association and they live right across from there.
Ms. Barton said again to avoid future problems and complaints from the neighboring residents, they should take into consideration now what could become more future problems and hopefully spare them problems later on.
Mr. Doug Harrington of 41483 Glyme was present. He indicated he has lived in Novi for just one week and he did grow up in Farmington and he bought his first house in Plymouth and then for the past eight years he has lived in Pennsylvania. He said he moved back to Novi for two reasons, the first was the school system as he has three young children and that was a very important concern and the second reason was that he wanted to live in a community where there were other children and other families and the quality of life to raise his own was a very high standard.
Mr. Harrington said if it ceases to be that way, he would be the first one out. He said the one comment he has heard that evening, which was the most striking to him was if they wanted to see what life in this neighborhood was going to become, they should take a look at some of the other neighborhoods where 24 hour operations of light industrial use were allowed to take place and that would seem to be a pretty valid comment and one he would like to see followed up on if they intend to follow through with this.
There being no further Audience Participation, Chairperson Lorenzo closed the Public Hearing.
THE COMMISSION TOOK A TEN MINUTE BREAK AT THIS POINT.
Member Hodges thanked the public for attending that night and he would also like to thank them for their cooperation with Chairperson Lorenzo as she tried to perform a very orderly meeting and make sure that all of their comments were heard and attended to in a manner in which they deserved to be.
Member Hodges said after reviewing their Ordinance and looking at any proposed changes and listening to their comments which very much speak to problems that could be anticipated with this type of zoning classification, she would like to make a few points.
Member Hodges said her first point was that any type of development that would be done in this area would be a special land use and it does not mean that because a business qualifies or asks to come, that they immediately would come before the Planning Commission and that everything was rubber-stamped.
Member Hodges said there were many many different qualifications by the time they flip the pages back and forth in the Ordinance to make sure they meet all of the requirements, and she would be willing to guarantee that the impact would be as minor as minor could be, and it doesn't say there was not going to be any impact, and they were going to have impact if they cross the street and they have to look for traffic both ways and there was an impact in life and life was not always fair and they know that and they try to follow the rules and do the best they could, but that was not just the way of the world.
Member Hodges said the second comment she had was she would like to say that in listening to their comments that night, a very real comment was Ordinance Enforcement and one of the things that she did recall was it has been over a year ago, and she would say in the 92 Budget or sometime in the 92 fiscal year, that their Police Department had, in fact, instituted an enforcement division and it was very short-lived. She said one of her former neighbors was appointed to this division and she did not know why but he had told her the Council had disbanded it through the police department because of funding and perhaps they should go back to their City council and say this was what the people were asking for and they were asking for enforcement.
Member Hodges didn't feel the problem was with the ordinance and that was not what she heard them say but if she misinterpreted the residents, then she stood corrected, but she heard them say enforcement was a big concern.
Member Hodges said then lastly one of the things that she felt that they have to realize was that their staff and the Commission goes through the operation as best they could and as best they know how, and there were a lot of things that happen along the way that they may not agree with and she knows Ms. Roder had indicated that this meeting was not listed under the Community Events Calendar in the paper and suffice it to say that an organization she has been associated with for the last year or year and a half has been printed weekly faithfully on the wrong day and the wrong time, in fact they totally disbanded it and they were still printing it.
Member Hodges said they do have their legal notices and they ask them to attend to those in looking for things that were matters of business with the Planning Commission or any of their Community Commissions and Boards.
Member Taub said he wanted to indicate one problem that has cropped up or one concern which was the fact that they have a long-standing business, Progressive Tool, that has been here many years, that was a taxpayer and a member of the community that has expressed concerns about their operation.
Member Taub said he believed they could provide for grandfathering of existing uses, although he would defer that topic to the City Attorney, but he felt what people were concerned about, was what was happening on the horizon and by horizon he would include the Interlock issue that erupted about a year ago, so he felt long-standing uses that have not created apparent problems could be accommodated, but what they were looking at was an existing subdivision, Meadowbrook Lake of expensive homes and people who have been there for many years who were all of a sudden facing the specter of losing their property values.
Member Taub said it was no secret that the upper middle class American depends on their home equity when they choose to retire to assist them in their retirement. He said they were talking about a problem presented by Interlock who could go somewhere else, but chooses to go into an area where it would hurt a lot of people, and he had a problem with that and if he loses his seat on the Planning Commission because he had a problem with homeowners in Novi being hurt economically, then he felt he has to lose the seat, and he didn't intend to keep his seat on the Planning Commission because he expressed his views that happen to be the concerns of many resident homeowners and voters.
Member Taub said they need an Ordinance to eliminate the subjective problems with the existing Ordinance and some people suggested with the special land use analysis on a case-by-case basis, that they could analyze a conflict and resolve it to the best they could, but that didn't work with Interlock in his opinion, and he felt the 24 Hour Operation would deal with the specter of uncontrolled uses that would directly impinge on the quiet enjoyment of the homes here in Novi and this was a residential community.
Member Taub felt they need this quite frankly to protect the residents and homeowners from unfriendly Commissions and City Councils that may choose to overlook the rights of voters and overlook the rights of homeowners to protect the rights of developers.
Member Taub felt property rights were what this country were all about and he felt developers were entitled to representation in Novi and he felt they were well-represented through all levels of City Government, but he didn't feel the voters should be under-represented in the face of the developers and they have a situation where the developers have more representation in Novi government than the residents, and maybe that was the fault of the residents because they were not voting or not active enough in the community and maybe the developers were active and it was the developer's right to be active and he was not denying the developers their right to protect their property rights.
Member Taub felt they need a 24-hour Ordinance to protect everyone against the abuse of discretion that could result from the basic failure to balance the rights of property owners with property owners who also live on the property so he felt they need a 24 hour ordinance.
Member Weddington said she was sympathetic with many of the issues that were brought before the Commission that night. She said all of them have experienced nuisances and problems with neighbors and she was sympathetic with those issues, but she was not sure that this was an issue of 24-hour operations.
Member Weddington said this issue that was before them she felt was a result of, as some other people have pointed out, poor planning way back when, and it was the role of the Planning Commission to interpret the ordinances that they have and they do the best they could and as others have pointed out, there was a lot more to the ordinances than just one Statement of Intent.
Member Weddington said the Master Plan was not the Ordinance but they have to look at all of those things together and try and fashion some understanding and develop plans that just try and meet the overall needs of the community.
Member Weddington said the way they protect property rights was by enforcing and interpreting the Ordinances and that was done through the standards that were in the ordinances, things like the building standards and the performance standards for nuisance factors such as noise and vibration and traffic. She said they have heard repeatedly that the overriding concern was enforcement, and the enforcement was made more difficult and their jobs here were made more difficult by some of the ambiguities or things that were not crystal clear in the Ordinance and maybe what was clear to them was not as clear to her and Member Weddington felt reasonable people could differ in their reading and interpretation of the same words.
Member Weddington said the 24-hour ban on operations strikes her as not being exactly the way to deal with the issue, given that many of the types of uses that would be acceptable, office operations, accounting operations, computer operations, those types of things, very often go on a 24 hour cycle and it was just the nature of the business. She said as all the industries and businesses were changing in the current world economy, she felt they just couldn't say they couldn't operate 24 hours, so therefore, they need to focus on what the impacts were, what could they see, hear, smell, and feel and deal with those things through specific performance standards and through the definitions.
Member Weddington felt Mr. Young brought up an excellent idea of taking a look at the uses and definitions of the industrial uses permitted and she would rather not have industrial next to residential at all and she was only speaking about a prospective change and they have many responsible industrial citizens in this City and she didn't think they were the problem. She agreed that they need to do something for the future and clarify the rules so that people know what they were and she would rather take a look at some of those definitions and perhaps tighten them up and clarify them because that was where she found a great deal of controversy or lack of clarity at least as she read through them.
Member Weddington felt whatever happens that night, the Commission does not write ordinances and they don't make those things up and they could recommend to City Council that ordinances be changed and that was where interested citizens also need to go to Council and let their views be heard but at this point, she felt just banning 24 Hour Operations was too broad for her and she did feel that they needed some restrictions.
Member Weddington said however, on the specific types of uses or the individual factors such as traffic noise, vibration and building standards, she felt that was where it should be addressed rather than a wholesale band on 24 hour operations and she didn't feel that was a feasible or a responsible approach to deal with this issue.
Member Vrettas said first of all, he was taking a tally of pro and con and he found it interesting that of the 11 people, 6 complained about ordinance enforcement and that was not their position, but what he would hope would come out of this was that those members of their circle up here who were officials of the City would go back and tell the proper authorities about those complaints and obviously if they were hearing them there, eventually Council was going to hear about them and eventually Council would want to know why those Ordinances were not being enforced.
Member Vrettas felt there needs to be ordinance enforcement and he would hope that members of City Government would send word to the co-workers that they better start covering it because they were not. He said the first person who had found out that he had been newly appointed to the Commission seemed quite impressed with that and wondered how he got on with such an easy vote. He said it was very simple and no one knew him and he had no loyalties and that was the truth. He said he has been here in Novi for four years and he knew no one on the Council and so they did one thing that he respected which was they listened to what he said and took him at his word.
Member Vrettas said his word to them was that he had learned through personal experience how important the Master Plan was and how important it was that they stay with that Master Plan above all else because through the consistency of a Master Plan, everyone knows exactly where they stand and everyone gets a feeling of what their place was and it gives them a sense of security and in today's society, a person needs a sense of security wherever they could find it.
Member Vrettas said he was not pro-resident and he was not pro-business and all through his life as an educator, although it got him into trouble, he has always been pro-fair and has tried to be fair with everyone that he was working with and if they have a battle plan and everyone follows the rules and regulations according to that battle plan, then they should be treated fairly.
Member Vrettas said his concern at this point was whether this was a fair Master Plan that they have and in the time he has spent reading it over the past couple of months, he saw nothing in there that he has any problems with. He said he understood the need in some people's minds for additional clarification and he had no problem with that, but he has not reached a final decision on where he was going to go at this point except to say he honestly felt they need more verifiable evidence. He said they need to know more about sound effects and there was a lot more that they need to know before they make a decision and he wasn't ready to make a decision on his position yet on whether they go with that 24 hour limitation.
Member Vrettas said he has heard a lot of pros and cons and he was scared they might rush and make a decision that was going to adversely effect some of the honorable and good businesses that were in Novi right now and that would not be fair, so his next comment was they need to look for more evidence and he wanted to know how Novi was going to handle it.
Member Vrettas said if they were going to re-write an ordinance, they should make it an ordinance where people were going to look up to it and people were going to respect it.
Member Vrettas then said those people in the business world would understand the Green River Ordinance and they had set an Ordinance in Green River, Wyoming many years ago that to this day was considered a model because they did it carefully and that was what he would like to see them do here with whatever they come up with and that it not be a rush to judgement or a hasty decision, but one that was fair and everyone comes out feeling that they were trying to be honorable and decent. He said he didn't want to run good businesses out of the area and he didn't want to run good families out of the area. He said it was a great community and he was very honored to live here and he didn't want to see it spoiled, so he was still undecided.
Member Hoadley said he also appreciated the Audience demeanor that night and the Audience has conducted themselves as they should. He said he has just lived in Novi for four years and was recently appointed to the Commission and just recently reappointed after a short stint replacing one of the Commissioners that was involved in Interlock.
Member Hoadley said he tries to do his homework and he investigates the problems in great depth and he does a lot of consulting with the proper people before he tries to make any decision. He said he tries to ask a lot of questions and being an insurance investigator for 38 years, he was highly motivated to ask questions and investigate what he hears.
Member Hoadley said that night he heard a lot of subjective comments and he would use Member Taub's "not objective" but "subjective" and they have to take subjective comments somewhat with a grain of salt because they were subjective and they were emotional and he was going to try and make a decision on a non-emotional basis.
Member Hoadley said he didn't hear a lot of objectivity as to whether this type of use would be intrusive just that it subjectively could be intrusive, but he heard no testimony at all from anyone that would cause problems of sound and traffic, etc., just that it might.
Member Hoadley said for that reason, he was not ready to make a decision on it and he would like to get a little more information from their Planning Department and he would request that Mr. Capote contact some independent sound engineers because he felt that was one of the main complaints he has heard. He said door slamming and people talking could be intrusive and if that was a fact, then maybe they could do something about that and not by necessarily having a 24 hour limitation, but by increasing their berm and increasing the density of their trees.
Member Hoadley said he knows he could eliminate the sight problems by having higher berms, and proper setbacks, and he suspected that they could do the same thing with sound, but he was not positive and he was willing to be convinced one way or the other.
Member Hoadley said before the end of the evening, he would make a motion to direct the Planning Commission to go outside for an independent study, and he didn't want to see anyone that was already doing business with the City doing this study for them. He said they could either come before the Commission and testify in person or give them a written report in regards to whether their Ordinance was sound and proper and that there was proper buffering.
Member Hoadley said regarding special land use, that does give the Commission an opportunity to really regulate those intrusive problems with a great deal more regulations than if they wrote an Ordinance allowing certain things. He said they could really tinker with those projects where there were several things that were allowed next to residential that could be 24 hours that would not require special land use, but would be allowed. He said he was thinking of the typical warehouse, such as a newspaper warehouse could go in there with no special land use, and they were a 24 hour operation and they have carriers coming and going all night long slamming doors.
Member Hoadley said there were other uses too that were now 24 hours and he agreed with Members Hodges and Weddington and Vrettas that he also was not ready to make a recommendation to Council one way or the other until he could clearly get some additional information on the sound.
Member Hoadley felt they have a good Ordinance and he felt from what he has read, it could meet all the questions and problems of residential intrusiveness, but he didn't necessarily agree that a 24 hour limitation was the way to go. He said he would like the opportunity after discussion, to make a motion for a recommendation to get additional information regarding the sound impacts.
Member Mutch said it seems to her that it may be possible to establish some objective standards by which a use could be determined to be compatible. She said as an example, if the sound levels were similar to the sound levels that the residents experience within their residential area now, in other words, no more excessive than what was there now, that might be considered to be compatible and she wasn't suggesting that that be written into an ordinance, but that was one possibility.
Member Mutch felt if they were to try to research that a bit and come up with some performance standards, she felt they have had at least 3 if not 4 Commissioners before her suggest that standards need to be objective, otherwise, they would all say, they don't like it and don't build it and she didn't feel that was fair.
Member Mutch said she would say that her own personal views on 24 Hour Operation as a blanket prohibition was that it would restrict the authority that the Commission already has. She said every project comes before them and was reviewed on its individual merits and they might have a project that would come in that might be a 24 hour operation and might need to be a 24 hour operation which was less intense in its use than another business that might not need that third shift. She said even though it was a daytime operation, it would be seen by neighboring residents as being less beneficial to the neighborhood and less desirable to have as a neighbor.
Member Mutch felt as long as the Commission has that authority now, they run the risk every time they review those projects that they would be in disagreement with residents, but the burden was on them to review it thoroughly and the burden was on the staff to provide all the information that they could to make good decisions. She said unfortunately, the burden was also on the neighboring businesses and residents to present their point of view so that they have as much information as possible when they make those decisions, but she did agree that they need to find a way to have objective standards, performance standards, and not overly restrict themselves.
Member Mutch said it may have been Member Weddington at the beginning who said that there was a problem here and it needs to be addressed, but this may not be the best way to do it.
Member Bonaventura said he would like to state first, he was on the Implementation Committee and they have been discussing this for awhile and there was a draft ordinance that was requested and this draft ordinance would fall under Article 19, which was Light Industrial District, and it would come under Section 1905, Required Conditions.
Member Bonaventura said then it would fall under where a permitted use abuts a residential district, and the following special conditions would apply and it would be G and it would stated and it was a draft, "Where adjacent to property zoned for R-A, R-1, R-2, R-3 or R-4 use, hours of operations shall be restricted to 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM except for repairs of manufacturing equipment." He said it makes sense to him and it fits well into the ordinance.
Member Bonaventura said he would like to ask Mr. Rogers some questions because reading this ordinance, he had trouble understanding why people have trouble understanding why this should be in there, so he would ask Mr. Rogers about something that was mentioned in this Ordinance under Required Conditions, Section 1905, "When a use abuts a residential district, there are hours of restrictions on refuse pick-up which shall be limited to the hours of 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM."
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Rogers what was the reason, and did he remember when this was added. Mr. Rogers said he believed that was added possibly when the ordinance was redone in 1984, one year before he started, but he must say they do seem to come about 5:00 AM or 6:00 AM to empty those dumpsters and by their inherent nature and outside activity, it was loud.
Member Bonaventura asked his opinion and Mr. Rogers felt it was a very reasonable regulation and he couldn't comment on the hours, but he felt it could be a nuisance and it was an outside activity with a heavy truck.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Watson what he thought the governmental objective was of that particular provision and Mr. Watson said he would assume that the objective was to protect the people from the noise that Mr. Rogers has described and the disruption that was inherent with refuse collections from an industrial facility and if anyone has been by an industrial facility when they collect refuse, it was a loud affair.
Member Bonaventura said as far as enforcement on that issue, that would be handled through their Ordinance Officers in Building and it was stated yes.
Member Bonaventura said so it was just a simple matter of a resident was awaken under the hours that were restricted on garbage pick-up under light industrial up against residential, which was a special land use. He said if they were doing that during those hours, the next day during normal hours, a person could call the Ordinance Officer and have him check it out and Mr. Rogers added yes and they could also have the owner speak to the trash collector people.
Member Bonaventura said the reason he pointed that out was it was a restriction on a business in limiting their hours and the reason they were limiting their hours was because there was a perception that there was noise doing that, even though they do have another ordinance which stipulates that noise could not be over so many dba levels.
Member Bonaventura said also this ordinance mentions normal sleeping hours and then normal working hours, which was another reinforcement of this City considering certain hours to be normal for working and certain hours to be normal for sleeping in a residential area.
Member Bonaventura then said he had a quick question under Section 1903, Principal Uses Permitted in locations not abutting residential districts and were subject to special conditions. He said those were in I-1 and they were not abutting residential, but still they were subject to special conditions.
Member Bonaventura said one of them was indoor tennis courts, roller skating rinks, and ice skating rinks and the indoor applies to each rink because there were no outdoor facilities in this district and Mr. Rogers said there was no outside activity. Member Bonaventura said so when it says indoor tennis courts, roller skating rinks, and skating rinks, it means indoor everything and Mr. Rogers said yes.
Member Bonaventura asked why was this not allowed to abut residential in his opinion, and Mr. Rogers said in his opinion, those activities, while they don't have any large arena type facilities in the City, they could attract crowds and there could be congregating in the parking lot, and there could be a double header for example where people don't leave the premises until midnight.
Mr. Rogers said some of those places do not have spectator sports and they do not have any seating, and it was strictly athletic centers and the City has one down at Ten Mile and Christine and there were a couple up at Heslip and a person wouldn't know what was going on inside.
Mr. Rogers said they had a dual indoor soccer facility up on Meadowbrook just north of Grand River, which was totally inside and would have met a need in the City, but it didn't work out. Member Bonaventura said still those uses were not permitted and Mr. Rogers said that was the way the ordinance was written.
Member Bonaventura said so even though they were indoor, as Mr. Rogers just mentioned, there was the possibility of their hours going into evening hours. He said that was why he brought that up because of the fact that they were restricting the recreational facilities which sounds like a good use to have up against residential, but they were restricting them up against residential and it doesn't explain why, but he thought he knew the reason why because a lot of those facilities were used after hours.
Member Bonaventura said it was written in their Ordinance under the Intent for light industrial, "To protect abutting residential districts by separating them from manufacture and related activities by limiting uses which may locate adjacent to such residential districts," so they were already limiting uses, "by setbacks for buildings and off-street parking by limitation of location of off-street parking, loading and unloading areas and by landscape planting berms, wall screens and by prohibiting the use of such industrial areas for new residential development."
Member Bonaventura then asked what that last sentence meant. He asked if it meant that residential could not be built with I-1 next to Industrial.
Mr. Rogers said residential of any kind except watchman/caretaker quarters were not permitted in I-1 or I-2 Districts. He said now it could be that as industry develops and the land next to it was zoned and planned for residential, they would need to protect that residential neighborhood next door which may be coming down the road.
Mr. Rogers said they have miles maybe 20 miles of frontage between residential and industrial in the City and a lot of it was developed now but then a person goes up to 11 Mile and they have some large lots backing up to Grand River frontage and that land may be developed in the future.
Member Bonaventura said the Ordinance was specifically saying here that residential was not allowed on I-1 and Mr. Rogers said that was true. Member Bonaventura asked if he was familiar with their neo-traditional new urbanism type planning which they have a 300 acre project up on the north end and basically it was very high density residential with commercial on top of each other. Mr. Rogers said it was more of a mixed use. Member Bonaventura said he was getting the impression that commercial was somewhat compatible to residential.
Member Bonaventura then said there were certain types of office uses in this district and those uses were considered compatible too, so in his mind the City has deemed that commercial was pretty much compatible with residential and so was office, but industrial was not.
Member Bonaventura said with all this talk about protecting the residential areas, what about the residents that were against commercial and when were they going to limit them and this could really snowball. He said what he was saying was that this City has already established that they feel that office and commercial was a much less intense use than industrial just by the wording that he read.
Member Bonaventura said in his mind this Ordinance would act as a buffer and what it would do was it would limit the intensity between the two different land uses, and he personally felt that this Ordinance would work well and he didn't see any problems with it because of the fact that it was a Zoning Ordinance which gives a person a choice. He said they have to give developers choices, in other words, when they come to the City, they were not limiting them and this only applies to areas that would be restricted underneath this Ordinance.
Member Bonaventura said as far as whether a person was fair and equitable, he personally felt that they have more than enough room for all the different kinds of industry and 24 hour operations that were limited to the hours that were suggested in this Ordinance.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Capote if he checked a data base for Ordinances that were similar to this and Mr. Capote said not exactly and Member Bonaventura asked did they check with Mr. Arroyo, and Mr. Capote said Mr. Arroyo subscribes to the American Planning Association's Planning Advisory Service, and he put in a request on their behalf looking for other Ordinances around the country that have regulations for the hours of operations for anything and they came up with nothing.
Mr. Capote said the request wasn't specific to similar ordinances so they didn't do a mass search for other I-1 zoning language. Member Bonaventura asked if this was national and would cover Michigan and Mr. Capote said yes it would cover Michigan, the Midwest, California, and Hawaii. Member Bonaventura asked if there was something called the Michigan Municipal League Data Base and it would cover that and Mr. Capote said he believed it would.
Member Bonaventura said another issue he would like to discuss was there was a letter given to them and in the letter from Mr. Utley, it says it reveals the old scenario where once again big money, SEV, additional tax revenues, become a more important priority to the City than the residential and stability of the neighborhoods, and this brings up the issue that was brought up in their last discussion of this meeting which was tax base.
Member Bonaventura said tax base was a buzz-word and a lot of people use it and a lot of people use it as an excuse, an excuse to develop this City at a certain pace and he wanted to talk about tax base and it was brought up at their last meeting by Member Mutch and she had commented on something that Mr. Taub said about Novi turning into a bedroom community. He said Member Mutch had commented that a bedroom community was like Bloomfield Hills where there was no commercial and no industrial to speak of and she was pleased not to pay the taxes that the people in Bloomfield Hills have to pay in order to have a luxury of living in a community that was like that.
Member Bonaventura said this interested him very much because this comes up time and time again. He said Mr. Wisne has brought this issue up as far as how much taxes his industry pays. He then said he too felt that Bloomfield Hills was a bedroom community with no commercial or industrial base to speak of.
Member Bonaventura said one thing he did check out was the tax rate and in Novi in 1994 with Novi Schools, it was 34.6199 and Bloomfield Hills with Birmingham Schools was 32.1732 and that was lower than Novi's but not that much lower. He said the argument of tax base in his mind totally does not work and they were there to build a quality community and they really have to pay attention to the residents and obviously they have to pay attention to the tax base at this point in time, and they have such a huge and stable commercial tax base, which their Master Plan says was much bigger than what they need for just their residents, in other words, it was a regional use.
Member Bonaventura said it was a solid good tax base, and he didn't think they have to worry too much and he felt they need to concentrate on their residential areas. He said he didn't feel people should fear putting some teeth into an Ordinance and that was exactly what he felt this does.
Member Bonaventura said he had one more comment about Ms. Lynn Kocan and he felt she has done an excellent job and has made his job easier, and the residents have really impressed him as far as the research. He said this was a hobby with him and he liked looking into things like this and he felt Ms. Kocan has done very good work.
Member Bonaventura said one of the points that was brought up was light and heavy industrial and no scale for the two. He felt that was one of their main problems and what will be a problem in the future as far as determining what goes up against residential and what tiers to use.
Member Bonaventura felt not only with the adoption of this ordinance, but he felt they should look into how to put a scale on light and heavy industrial instead of just saying this tier over one was light, and this tier was heavy and make a determination because a lot of times there were mixed uses and it gets complicated.
Member Bonaventura said since there was no motion on the floor, he would like to make a motion.
Moved by Member Bonaventura
Seconded by Member Taub
To send to City Council Draft Ordinance No. 95-18 addressing 24 Hour Operations or at least restricting the hours of operations of I-1 Light Industrial uses adjacent to certain Residential Districts.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Bonaventura indicated this would be a starting point and there would have to be a Public Hearing on this if Council decided that it would have to go through the process.
Member Capello felt they have gotten off the issue. He said the issue was whether or not the limitation on Light Industrial abutting Residential of imposing a 16 hour use was a way to protect the residential community. He felt he could speak for all the Commissioners that they were concerned about protecting the residents and it was merely a question of how and the debate that night was whether or not this 24 hour amendment to the Ordinance was going to serve any purpose in protecting the residents and comparing that to the infringement that it has on the property rights of those industrial property owners abutting residential.
Member Capello said in Mr. Kramer's comments that night, he confirmed his beliefs also that there was ample residential input in drafting and adopting Article 19 governing the use in the I-1 District and he knows all the Commissioners have read it, so he would just paraphrase a few sections of the Ordinance.
Member Capello said "The Light Industrial District was intended to encourage uses but at all times to protect neighboring residential districts from any adverse impacts. The general goals include to protect abutting residential districts by separating them from manufacturing and related activities by limiting uses. To protect research, office and light industrial which is free from danger of fire, explosive toxic and non-toxic matter, radiation and other hazards and from offensive noise vibrations, smoke, odor and other objectionable influences."
Member Capello said the Ordinance covers a large variety of areas and he was sure the City Council, when they adopted that Ordinance, took all of that into consideration. He said the Ordinance goes on to say, "To protect the character and established pattern of adjacent development and in each area to conserve the value of land and buildings and other structures and to protect the City's tax revenue." He said both of those issues were strong issues when they had debated Interlock.
Member Capello said Section 1902 talks about special conditions imposed upon the I-1 District when it abuts residential districts and says, "The following uses shall be permitted as permitted uses, however when such uses abut a residential district, the following uses shall, in addition, be treated as a special land use."
Member Capello said it then goes on under Section 1905 with two pages of special conditions that apply such as maximum height of the building, berming requirements, limitation on exterior lighting and sighting, and windows and doors of non-office use areas may not be left open. He said it doesn't say, in the evening, during the day, during the evening and at night, might not be left open.
Member Capello felt the Ordinance as it was written, protects the residential community as well as it can be protected and he didn't think that the additional imposition of the limitation on 24 hour operation was going to protect the residential community anymore.
Member Capello said they debated whether or not the 24-hour operation of Interlock was going to effect Meadowbrook Lakes and he remembered that coming back to the Commission because they talked about how many trucks were coming in and the frequency of trucks and the type of noise that the trucks made.
Member Capello said they also talked about the slamming of doors and that Interlock provided them with a time schedule of the shifts and the amount of people coming and leaving.
Member Capello said however the only factual basis that he got that there was going to be any protection in adopting the 24 hour operation was the fact that there would be slamming of doors, opening and shutting when shifts left.
Member Capello said he didn't feel that was an adequate factual basis to restrict the land use of all of the property owners abutting residential.
Member Capello said they have ample protection in the Ordinance to come to the Planning Commission and on a case-by-case basis to make those decisions and probably protect the residents more by using their own judgement than they could by putting specific limitations in the Ordinance.
Member Capello felt a good deal of the residents were unhappy with them as a Commission because the vote was 5-4 to allow Interlock to go and there were a lot of facts presented to them and he still felt they made a very wise decision in allowing Interlock, and it doesn't mean that every use that comes to them was going to be approved and hopefully they would give as much consideration to future special land uses that come before them as they did to Interlock.
Member Capello felt there was ample protection in this ordinance and he felt there was ample residential input when the ordinance was adopted. He didn't feel this particular amendment was going to add any protection to the residents that they don't currently have.
Member Capello indicated he wouldn't say his mind wouldn't be open to having specific objective standards with additional limitation such as certain decibel levels so many feet out and certain limitation of vibration levels so many feet out and have those as specific standards and compare them to the decibel levels and vibration levels currently existing in the residential communities.
Member Capello said to him something like that makes sense and the property owner/the developer could accommodate those concerns with construction techniques in today's market, and they could limit the decibel level and limit the vibration level if they have to without putting a specific restriction on the use of their land and the hours of operation.
Member Capello said as it stands today as it was before him, he couldn't vote to recommend to Council that they adopt this ordinance as it was written or even in the intent of limiting hours to 24 hour operation.
Member Taub said he just wanted to respond to a few comments. He said as citizen planners, they were in a position where they have to be subjective to some extent and they have to decide what was desirable for their community. He felt in planning and in making decisions for the community, there was a certain amount of subjectivity.
Member Taub said that was not to say they should be totally non-objective and unfair, and he felt it was unfortunate if an individual was put on the Commission and they forget that after all they were just another resident and other voter, and another homeowner.
Member Taub said the Commission could not be unmindful of the fact that citizens or homeowners were impacted and as citizen planners, they have to take into consideration the effects. He said the Ordinances that Member Bonaventura went through showed consideration in the existing ordinances of various balances that have to take place.
Member Taub felt they have to be mindful of the real problems of the community and the Commissioners should not use the code word objectivity to avoid the fact that they were trying to serve the community along with the ordinances.
Member Bonaventura said he wanted to clarify a few things after Member Capello's comments. He asked if Mr. Watson wrote this draft, and Mr. Watson said he prepared it and it came from a recommendation from the Implementation Committee.
Member Bonaventura said he didn't think he asked Council to adopt this ordinance and he may be wrong and if he did say that, what he meant to say was for them to review it and he felt that was where they were at at this point.
Member Bonaventura then asked the way it was written, under Section 1905.4,G, this would not affect existing uses/buildings that were existing and operating right now. Mr. Watson said the problem he had was with the phrase he used, "it wouldn't affect them."
Mr. Watson said they wouldn't be a lawful non-conforming use or a use that was rendered non-conforming by the adoption of this, and they wouldn't be restricted by it under the State Zoning Enabling Statute and under their Ordinance, non-conforming uses were allowed to continue.
Mr. Watson said it doesn't mean it wouldn't affect them, it would limit any changes they make in their use, anything that would otherwise require a site plan manual for special land use.
Member Bonaventura asked if it would change their status, and Mr. Watson said it wasn't just their status, it would affect anything they wanted to do in the future. Member Bonaventura said it would change their status and make them a legal non-conforming use but if they came in with any expansion, they would be caught by this, and Mr. Watson said it may be other than expansion and it may be a change from that use to a similar use, and there may be other changes where they get caught by this.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Watson under Section 1901 under Principal Uses Permitted, where it lists office buildings, office, office sales, etc., under this change, his understanding was that it would only affect the special land use and not effect the principal uses permitted.
Mr. Watson said no and he explained this would affect any use that was adjacent to property zoned for those uses. He then reviewed Sec. 1905.4 and said that applies to wherever a permitted use abuts a residential district the following conditions apply. He said this amendment would add that as a condition, so irrespective of whether the use that was adjacent to residential was a Tier 1 use or a Tier 2 use or a Tier 3 use, it would be limited by this.
Mr. Rogers commented if they put that in just for Tier 2, Section 1902, that may be clearer because Tier 3 uses wouldn't be permitted next to residential anyway and Tier 1 was just office/research/development.
Member Weddington said as it was proposed though under Section 1901 principal uses, there were various office uses listed such as executive, administration, professional, accounting, writing, clerical, etc., and this would prohibit those uses as well and Mr. Watson said assuming that the use was adjacent to property within the districts that were listed there, they would have to conduct their operations between the hours of 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM.
Member Weddington said they couldn't approve it even if they wanted to, even if there were no impacts on anyone and Mr. Watson indicated they could approve it subject to that restriction on their operations.
Member Vrettas said he couldn't support the motion, but he wanted to say a few things and he added this wasn't meant to be sarcastic, but he was wondering if there were some code words that he wasn't aware of that were being used here. He indicated when he uses the word subjective, it was based on his years of experience when he dealt objectively with people based on sound, scientific fact. He said he would avoid hurting peoples' feelings.
Member Vrettas said if there was a code system functioning in Novi, to please let him know. He said to him objective means they were trying to be as fair as they possibly could be and he felt that was what they should try and do here, be as fair as they possibly could and at this time, he didn't think they could.
Member Vrettas said since this motion has been on the floor, they were already sending up red flags about it, and could they imagine what it was going to be like when the lawyers get their hands on it, and they were rushing to create another nightmare for the Commission and he had a problem with that.
Member Hoadley said to respond to the criticism he received, words have meanings and subjective to him means subjective and objective means objective and it means to try to be fair and listen to all the testimony and make a fair independent judgement and that was what he was going to try and do on this or anything else that comes before him.
Member Hoadley said when he said subjective, he meant that was what he heard primarily with subjective comments with no data to back up those comments and that was what subjective meant to him.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Watson regarding the motion on the floor and the Ordinance, would that also preclude any overtime occurring during those times, and Mr. Watson replied yes and it was any operations other than the repairs of manufacturing equipment.
Chairperson Lorenzo said so if they had an accounting firm or any type of office use that may have any type of overtime, that would not be permitted during the hours of 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM, and Mr. Watson said assuming it was adjacent to residential.
Chairperson Lorenzo said she wasn't going to support the motion at this time because she felt this was a very drastic way of trying to address the issues and she wasn't sure that it was the only way to address the issues and she agreed with many fellow members of the Commission in terms of she felt they need additional research into the matter.
Chairperson Lorenzo said she has identified the problem as sound and subsections coming under that, such as parking lot noise from car doors slamming, from chit-chat in the parking lot that may occur and engines starting and she recognized those as potential problems in terms of effecting residents, but she wasn't sure that drastic measures were the answer to try and achieve the objective in terms of addressing those issues.
Chairperson Lorenzo said she agreed with Member Hoadley's suggestion of requesting additional information, particularly some type of a sound expert that could come before them and testify in terms of how they could achieve adequate sound deadening protection from those types of noises. She said she didn't know what they may be and perhaps it was a wall or a wall with a berm, or perhaps it was in circumstances where I-1 was abutting residential and perhaps it was relaxing or deferring from their normal standards in terms of where the parking was located and locating the parking on the west side of the building as opposed to the east side where the residents were.
Chairperson Lorenzo said those were things that she would like to see researched and brought back to them in terms of how could they address the specific problem. She didn't think the intensity of this specific use inside the building and the users inside the building were necessarily the problem, because if they couldn't hear what was going on inside the building, if the noise which was a problem was not emanating from inside the building, then to her it doesn't make a difference whether it was an office use doing the accounting or engineering or whether it was a light industrial use conducting some kind of a manufacturing business.
Chairperson Lorenzo said if the objection was noise in a parking lot, whatever business they have, by nature of the inherent activities of people coming and going in a parking lot that was what they were going to have and that was what needs to be addressed, so she could not support the motion at this time, and she would support any motions in terms of asking Administration and the Consultants for information. She said at this point if there were no other comments, she would restate the motion and take a vote.
To send the Draft Ordinance No. 95-18 to City Council subject to any amendments that the Commission might forward for review.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Lorenzo (No), Mutch (No), Taub (Yes), Vrettas (No), Weddington (No), Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (No), Hoadley (No), Hodges (No)
(7) Nays (2) Yeas
Moved by Member Capello
To send a negative recommendation to City Council to adopt the 24 Hour Limitation on Industrial Land Use.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Chairperson Lorenzo said she didn't know if that motion was necessary and Member Capello said he assumed the Council sent it back to the Commission to have a public hearing and to make a recommendation.
Chairperson Lorenzo said she didn't think that they were holding this public hearing on the Ordinance.
Member Bonaventura said this was not a public hearing about the Ordinance.
Member Capello said he understood it wasn't a public hearing on the Ordinance, but didn't City Council specifically send it back and ask them to have a public hearing on that issue and then make a recommendation to them.
Chairperson Lorenzo said it was to consider the merits of establishing regulatory language that would prohibit light industrial uses from operating on a 24 hour basis so that was what they were doing and they were considering the merits of establishing that regulatory language.
Member Capello asked didn't the Council want an opinion from the Commission if they sent it back for that and Chairperson Lorenzo said eventually. She said there seems to be some consensus here to gather more information before they make any recommendation to Council.
Member Bonaventura said he would second the motion if Member Capello was making it and Member Capello said yes he would like to move this along.
Moved by Member Capello
Seconded by Member Bonaventura
To send a negative recommendation to City Council to amend the Ordinance to adopt the 24 Hour restriction on uses in the I-1 Industrial District.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Capello clarified his motion and said it was not specific to the Ordinance and Chairman Lorenzo said his motion was to send a negative recommendation to City Council to not establish regulatory language that would permit light industrial uses from operating on a 24-hour basis.
Member Capello said yes he did not want Council to think that the Commission had a problem with the language of the Ordinance and he was sending a negative recommendation on the theory of the Ordinance restricting 24-hour operations.
Member Bonaventura explained the reason why he seconded Member Capello's motion was because it has been a year and one month that this was first proposed and to suggest that they get a sound expert and the like to do more research, he personally felt was ridiculous. He felt this should move on to the politicians and he hoped that everyone that voted the one way the other time, votes the other way this time because he would not be voting for this. He explained he did second it to bring it to the floor and to bring it to Council, but he did not think they should send a negative recommendation to Council.
Member Mutch said she had a problem with this, and she felt the Commission wanted the Council to know that they have a concern with sending this particular Ordinance and beyond that, she also felt a clear majority have expressed some concern with a blanket prohibition.
Member Mutch said, however, she would prefer to see perhaps a motion that would send this back to Implementation where they could come back with a solid recommendation, whether it was a 24-hour limitation or not, and it may not be an Ordinance and it just may be a recommendation that when Council deals with it, they keep certain things in mind and if they choose to establish an ordinance on their own, that they would also keep certain things in mind that would result from some of the additional inquiries that they have requested or at least suggested, so she hesitated to support this because the Council might get the wrong message.
Member Mutch said the Council might intend as Member Bonaventura just suggested, to deal with it on their own and the reason they have a Planning Commission, rather than a Planning Board or a City Council that deals with planning issues directly, was to remove at least some of the politics from the planning process, and they were suppose to represent what was best for the City overall and that was why they were directed to be objective in looking at the Ordinances.
Member Mutch said while it was suggested earlier that they were individuals and they were subjective in how they view those things, the fact was that because they were not professionals, they have an even greater obligation to be objective and to do what the Ordinance requires and not to read into it prohibitions that do not exist or to provide too much leeway when it clearly was not allowed.
Member Mutch said if this motion were not to pass and another motion were made to send this back to Implementation for the purpose of coming up with recommendations, which may or may not include a draft Ordinance, she would support that.
Member Vrettas said he appreciated the feelings of the Commissioners wanting to bring this to resolution, but he couldn't function that way and he was new and if he was forced to make a decision, he would just say no, but he didn't want to do that and he would rather keep this alive and give him the time that he needed to make what he felt was a fair decision, so he couldn't support it, but at the same time, that does not mean that he would not support it at the next meeting, after he receives some objective information.
Member Vrettas said he was trying to stay open and he just couldn't make a decision that fast, and he has heard some things that evening about the 24 hours that was sending up red flags to him and he was becoming very concerned about it, but he still has not taken a position. He said he respected the motion and the intention of at least letting Council know that was where he stood, but he couldn't personally yet make that kind of motion.
Member Capello said he understood what Member Bonaventura was doing and he was trying to do the same thing, and the 24 hour issue has been debated and debated, and he felt they were all very familiar with the purpose and intent of it and he didn't think it could be reworked any other way except to say a limitation on use period.
Member Capello felt they should let Council decide if they want to amend the Ordinance in that fashion or not, and they either want to work towards a 24 hour limitation or drop the issue of a 24 hour limitation. He said they could always come back to the Implementation Committee with an amendment in limiting vibration levels, sound levels, and the recommendation to the City Council on the 24 hour issue has nothing to do with dropping the issue in regard to other more objective restrictions.
Member Capello said he was not trying to do that because he felt Members Mutch and Hoadley had some good ideas with those restrictions. He felt they should send the 24 hour issue to Council and they were going to make the decision.
Member Hoadley said he was wondering if Member Capello would be willing to amend his motion not to send a negative recommendation on 24 hours because he agreed with that, but send it back to Implementation Committee as part of his motion for further study in regards to other things that they could address to improve the residential situation.
Member Capello said he didn't think he needed to do that and he felt if they just send the issue to Council, the Commission didn't have to have Council send back to the Implementation Committee, a request to investigate limitations on noise levels or decibel levels. He said he didn't want to cloud the two issues together and Member Hoadley said he would accept that.
Member Capello asked Mr. Watson if that issue could be brought to Implementation any time and Mr. Watson said yes it could, and possibly he misheard Mr. Hoadley, but he thought what he said was simultaneous with sending their negative recommendation to Council, that they would also direct Implementation Committee to look at those other issues.
Member Hoadley said that was what he was suggesting and Member Capello said he didn't understand that. He then asked Member Hoadley after they vote on the motion, if he would make a motion to sent the issue to the Implementation Committee and would that be all right and Mr. Watson said that was fine.
Member Bonaventura said to Member Capello that this puts him in an interesting position as he didn't support the motion, but he seconded the motion, and he wasn't going to vote for the motion, but he did want the motion to pass and he wanted it to go to Council.
Member Bonaventura felt what Member Hoadley was suggesting would get this passed and that was to make the motion to send this to Council, however they want. He said the Commission may prefer to send it with a negative recommendation or to make an amendment to it to send it to the Implementation Committee to review the concerns that were stated at this meeting at the same time, and he felt they would find more positive support for the entire motion and that was just a suggestion.
Member Taub asked Mr. Watson if they vote to send it to City Council per Member Capello's motion, wasn't it then beyond them to send it to the Implementation Committee and it would be at a higher level and Mr. Watson said not at all because they were sending a different issue to the Implementation Committee and the recommendation in the motion was to send a negative recommendation to Council on doing a blanket 24 hour type restriction within the Ordinance, and what would be going to the Implementation Committee would be studying additional performance standards to bolster the I-1 Ordinance. He said it was really two separate issues.
Member Vrettas said in other words, they were saying this would go to the Implementation Committee to find other means, and Mr. Watson said that was what he understood and Member Vrettas said he could support that.
Chairperson Lorenzo said but that was not what was on the floor.
Member Hoadley asked Member Capello if he would add that to the motion and Member Capello said he would like to see it as two separate motions.
Member Bonaventura then said he would make a motion to amend.
Moved by Member Bonaventura
Seconded by Member Hoadley
To include wording that all of the concerns stated that evening would be sent to the Implementation Committee.
VOTE ON AMENDMENT TO MOTION
ROLL CALL VOTE: Vrettas (No), Weddington (No), Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (No), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (No), Lorenzo (No), Mutch (No), Taub (Yes)
(6) Nays (3) Yeas
VOTE ON ORIGINAL MOTION
ROLL CALL VOTE: Mutch (Yes), Taub (No), Vrettas (Yes), Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (No), Capello (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (No)
(6) Yeas (3) Nays
Chairperson Lorenzo said the Commissioners should be aware that the Commission was sending the negative recommendation to Council.
It was then,
Moved by Member Hoadley
Seconded by Member Vrettas
To send this matter back to the Implementation Committee to exclude any discussion on 24 Hour Operations, but to explore sight, sound and the other concerns expressed that evening, including expert testimony by sound engineers that have nothing to do with the City and were independent.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Chairperson Lorenzo said to Member Hoadley he was saying to refer this matter back to the Implementation Committee for further research specifically in the areas of sight and sound and to receive an independent expert testimony in terms of sound-deadening possibilities and Member Hoadley said yes.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked would it include also their Consultants to research the possibility of locating parking lots on adjacent parts of the building and Member Hoadley said that would deal with sound. Chairperson Lorenzo said so all of the above then, but specifically a sound expert and Member Hoadley said yes.
Member Taub commented he felt it was important who would hire the independent experts.
Member Hodges asked Member Hoadley would it be inappropriate to suggest that perhaps the information she would be looking for was what was normal, what were the decibel sounds, what was the beeper back-up and what decibel was that so they were looking at different scales. She didn't feel they needed to hire specialists to do this, and they just need someone to do the research, whether it was their own staff or their own Consultants and that type of information was available in the Public Library and it was just the fact that someone has to do the work and at a cost that would be very efficient to the City.
Member Hodges said those Consultants were not inexpensive and she could think of a lot of other ways she would like to see their money spent than to hire a Consultant to look up information that was in the Public Library. She said she didn't think they could afford that and she didn't know if Council or the Staff would approve the Budget being used to conduct private studies so perhaps they could put it in such a way that they could just have information.
Member Hodges said she was interested in what was the decibel of normal conversation as opposed to the back-up beeper and it doesn't take hiring a Consultant to get that information.
Member Hoadley said he would agree on that particular point, but it did take an expert in regards to how they mitigate that and it was what he was trying to get to, and if there was a problem, they have to come up with a solution to mitigate it, and it may be that instead of a six foot berm, they need a 12 foot berm, and it may be that instead of deciduous trees on that berm to eliminate sound problems, they need to have non-deciduous trees and in a certain planting order.
Member Hoadley said the only way they could find that out was by someone who knows what they were talking about.
Member Hodges said first she needed the facts and needed to decide if there was a situation to be mitigated such as possibly the actual noise of slamming a car door and she could think of a lot of other things worse than slamming a car door. She felt Member Hoadley was indicating that there was a problem and Member Hoadley said he wasn't.
Chairperson Lorenzo then said the Commissioners couldn't get into personal debates here and obviously the first issue was a personal perspective and she may recognize that the car door slamming was disruptive and that may not be a decibel level problem and it may be that it was disruptive in her mind when she hears it, but it may not be for Member Hodges. She said she did agree with Member Hoadley in terms of mitigating that disruption and they need some type of technical advice.
Member Hodges said she understood what she was saying, but what she was indicating was they have already declared it to be disruptive. She said she was indicating if they put it on the same data base, which was a decibel base, which was decibel level and have something to compare to, then they could agree on what was normal and then review it in a more objective way.
Member Hodges said she could think of a lot of things that some people may not even complain about. She felt they should take a data base norm and work with that and then declare whether or not there was something adverse.
Chairperson Lorenzo said that was what she has been trying to do that evening and if they haven't accomplished that, she was disappointed, and she was trying to gain some consensus that the first thing to do was to identify whether there was not a perception of a problem but problems, and they have identified that, and then they could send it to the Implementation Committee to try and mitigate those problems. She said that was what she was trying to do and trying to get a consensus whether they have identified the problems and was there something to send to the Implementation Committee to research specifically.
Member Capello said he saw what was going on at the other end of the table and Member Hodges was right and Member Hoadley has a good point and it was a two-step process. He said when the members were in the Implementation Committee, they do what Member Hodges said and they set their levels. He felt the experts really come in when the developer comes in front of them and says they were doing something or they have a certain noise level or a certain vibration level.
Member Capello said the developer has to explain to them how he was going to make sure that that noise at that facility was at the limitation of a level they set in the residential community. He said they don't have to establish that now and he would tell them how high a berm with his experts and then they need to question their Consultants and their experts and they don't do that at the Implementation stage. He said they just set the level and they have to tell them how and what noise they were going to have and what vibration they were going to have and how they were going to assure that that level does not reach the residential community.
Member Bonaventura said their noise ordinance speaks to two different dba levels and if Mr. Hoadley wants to research what their ordinance already states and what was 65 dba and what it sounds like from 30 - 200 feet, that was fine, but one thing he was interested in that was brought up a couple of times that night for the Implementation Committee to look at, would be the classification of light industrial and heavy industrial, which could, if done properly, alleviate this whole concern about the hours of operation.
Member Bonaventura said right now he considered they were deficient in determining which was light and which was heavy and he felt by classification, they could possible solve this concern.
Member Weddington said all of the members of the Implementation Committee were at this table and they have all been paying attention she believed and she felt they have heard all of those issues and they have their work cut out for them. She agreed with Member Bonaventura's comments about the definitions, and she would just like to send this back to Implementation.
Member Weddington said she realizes it has been a long time and they seem to have been spinning their wheels for a year, but she felt that they have a much clearer objective or goal in mind, and a clearer understanding of the issues. She believed the Implementation Committee could deal with those issues and come up with some alternatives and a number of suggestions to deal with the issue of adverse impact of industrial abutting residential, so she would just like to get on with it and send it on to Implementation and ask them to come back within a reasonable period of time with some suggested remedies.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Member Hoadley to restate the motion for everyone and Member Hoadley said he would leave out the qualified expert:
To send it back to the Implementation Committee to re-review the comments that they have heard that night at the Public Hearing, other than the 24 Hour issue which they have already made a decision on, but to re-review all the other issues that have been raised to see if the Ordinance needs to be changed in any way and to determine if any of those conditions were in fact actual conditions that were causing a problem and make a judgement.
Member Vrettas, who seconded the motion previously, said he would accept that but he did want to ask if they could include a time limit and Chairperson Lorenzo suggested:
To report back within 60 days.
Member Vrettas said he would concur with that.
Chairperson Lorenzo then restated the motion:
To refer this to the Implementation Committee to consider all of the concerns that were brought up that evening and to determine whether any amendments to the Ordinance were in order, excluding limiting 24 Hour Operations, and also for this to be done within 60 days and brought back to the Commission.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (Yes), Vrettas (Yes)
Member Hodges said she had a comment about deliveries as part of the definition and also stocking and any other activities. Mr. Capote said he would add those to the list.
Member Vrettas said what he was concerned about more than anything else was the trucks coming in and out of properties and they may be dumping and they need to look at that issue. He said when he sees a truck coming in, in the middle of the night onto a property, especially a gas company's property, red flags go up because of his bitter experiences in northeast Ohio of toxic waste dumping going on so that was his concern.
Ms. Kocan spoke again and said she felt the Commission missed the point entirely about Ordinance Enforcement, and she felt they put the responsibility on the Ordinance Officers, and her intent was the enforcement responsibility to be on this Commission to enforce the Ordinance that was on the table in front of them. She said the Ordinance Officers do not do that, and they do not put words into the Ordinance that further explains what was already in the Ordinance.
Ms. Kocan asked when might they expect this to go to Council and would it be on the next Council Agenda and Mr. Watson replied that was entirely up to the City Clerk and the Administration. Ms. Kocan said the Council did request feedback back in 45 days which was August 7, 1995.
Ms. Kocan said her other question was Implementation Committee and were there other Committees that meet at the same time so there would not be a quorum at the Implementation Committee.
Chairperson Lorenzo said she would imagine that was a possibility because they do have several committees that occasionally do meet at the same time.
Member Hoadley commented they have to come back in 60 days.
Mr. Capote said if that was the case, in the future, the Implementation Committee would not meet and that has been the practice in the past, but not the recent past, so if there were other members of Implementation who were part of other committees, Implementation would not meet.
Ms. Kocan said if there wasn't a quorum, no business would be undertaken and Member Mutch said if there wasn't a quorum, there wouldn't be a meeting and they would schedule meetings when they know there was a quorum and carry on the business of the committee, otherwise there was no meeting. Ms. Kocan said they would like to be notified of those meetings.
Mr. Andrew Mutch of 24541 Hampton Court was present. He felt the Implementation Committee should examine that they all recognize now the problem was not 24 hour operations per se, and he felt the Meadowbrook Lake residents, saw this as a way to hang their hat on, and be able to knock Interlock out with this.
Mr. Mutch said he felt they all recognize that there were some 24 hour operations that may be bad and some that may not be bad and there may be some that have no adverse impacts on surrounding residential, and he felt they all recognize that the proposed Ordinance was too broad, that banning 24 hour operations next to residential districts, not residential homes, not established residential subdivisions, but residential districts, took out of use properties that may never be developed residential that were used for cemeteries, for parkland, for non-residential uses that were still zoned residential.
Mr. Mutch said so he felt they all recognize that that was too broad a wording and that what they should bring back was something specific, something that addresses impacts. He said the language in the ordinance was adverse impacts, not 24-hour operations, and it was adverse impacts that they were trying to address.
Mr. Mutch said in reference to the comments by some Commissioners, they need to examine other uses and it was not only industrial operations that could have adverse impacts and he felt they all recognize that a 24 Hour Meijer dropped in at Ten Mile and Beck Road would probably generate quite a few adverse impacts, yet according to some Commissioners, that was commercial and they have decided that they don't care about commercial next to residential or office or whatever the use may be.
Mr. Mutch said there were a number of 24 Hour Operations in this community and he felt they had to focus on impacts because that was where the problems were and not the actual operations but the impacts.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:30 P.M.
Transcribed by Sharon Hendrian
August 22, 1995